The National Drug Authority [NDA] has closed 117 drug outlets in the northern region in an operation aimed at enforcing compliance of licensing requirements of drug outlets with unqualified personnel.
Out of the 1,153 drug outlets visited,540 were licensed, 330 unlicensed, 117 were illegal and therefore closed with a total of 391 boxes of assorted drugs estimated approximately to Shs.49 million impounded.
The operation, which started last week, were conducted in the 21 districts of Gulu,Nwoya,Amuru,Omoro,Kitgum,Lamwo,pader,Agago,Abim,Kotido,Kaboong,Karenga,Lira Dokolo,Amolator,Kwania, Apac,Kole,Oyam,Alebtong and Otuke all in the Northern Region.
During the Northern Regional Enforcement operation, some of the closed drug shops lacked licenses and qualified personnel. Others were found in possession of government drugs, some were admitting patients on the floors and some were storing the drugs in conditions which is not unsuitable and recommendable by NDA.
“During the operation, we discovered that most drug shops had drugs labeled ‘Government of Uganda.’ The pilferage compromises the quality of health service delivery and patients in dire need of medicine hence discrediting government programmes,” Mr Samuel Kyomakama, the NDA Head Enforcement, told journalists in Lira Town last Friday.
He said the operations and post market surveillance activities are intended to protect the population from substandard counterfeit, unauthorized medicines and other health care products.
“Strictly buy drugs from outlets licensed by the National Drug Authority and take medicines as prescribed by a qualified health worker because drugs and other health products you buy from unlicensed operators can expose you to health risks during the fight against COVID 19,”He added.
Mr.David Kaggwa,the NDA Northern Region Manager said two people were also arrested during the enforcement operation.
“We were able to arrest two people during the operation. One was arrested from Gulu Town and one from Alebtong District. One suspect identified as Mrs.Nancy Atimango who is currently being detained at Gulu CPS under SD reference 37/19/10/2020 whereas the other Mr. Emmanuel Ogule under SD reference is also being detained at Alebtong CPs.
They have all been charged with possession of Government stores under the NDA act with procession of Government stores and which may involve imprisonment or a fine of Shs.Im,”He added.
Mr.Kaggwa also welcomed the operation, saying it will help them get rid of unethical and unqualified medics.
“This search is mainly to protect the community appealed to the general public to be vigilant and report more of such cases to their offices so that such kind of people are dealt with,” He added